The hats had just rained down on the ice inside the Xcel Energy Center, and the reason they ended up there was on the bench Wild beaming down his masterpiece to a crescendo of cheers.
Rookie Matt Boldy scored his first career hat trick on a career-high four-point effort to help the Wild turn a poor start into a 7-4 comeback against the Red Wings on Monday ahead of 18 098 for the team’s sixth straight win at home.
In total, the Wild have won eight of their last nine games.
“It’s a good feeling for him,” said Jordan Greenway. “They’ll probably applaud his name a lot more.”
Boldy is the fourth Wild rookie to record a hat trick and the first to score four points in a game.
He’s 14 points in 13 games since making his NHL debut last month after being called up by the minors. Already, the 20-year-old has the second-most points by a Wild rookie in his first 15 career games; Ryan Donato (15) is first.
“It was awesome,” Boldy said. “Obviously it was nice to score goals, but I think the reaction from the fans and everyone, team-mates, it was really special.”
This landmark game for Boldy came after the Wild stumbled in the first period.
Just 1 minute and 27 seconds after the face-off, Detroit’s Dylan Larkin skated past a fallen Jordie Benn and fired a backhand past goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.
A shot later, the Red Wings took a 2-0 lead on a rebound by Gustav Lindstrom at 4:01.
Then Boldy took over.
He accepted a pass from Kevin Fiala, turned inside and fired the top puck at 5:29 before scoring his second goal of the game on a power-play deflection at 8:04.
“Proud of him,” said
Greenway, who lives with Boldy. “He worked hard. He deserves it.”
After Kirill Kaprizov buried a back-and-forth with Mats Zuccarello at 4:54 of the second for his team-leading 21st goal and 23rd point in their last 15 games, Boldy made it through the third round of the Wild’s hat of the season and 33rd as a team. story with 1:47 to go in the period.
Back on the power play, he converted a one-timer that bounced off the post and the right skate of Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic before rolling into the net.
“I saw Zuccy and [Joel Eriksson Ek] kind of turn around and grab the puck, and that’s when I realized it was mine,” Boldy said.
Up front, Eriksson Ek intentionally avoided nudging the carom, securing Boldy’s hat trick.
“When I saw him coming in, I just tried to get my stick out as soon as possible,” said Eriksson Ek, who credited Boldy’s opening goal with igniting the Wild.
On the team’s next power play in the third period, Boldy went from scorer to playmaker when he fed the puck to Eriksson Ek for a redirect at 8 minutes. Boldy’s three power play points tied Kaprizov for the most in a game against a rookie.
Not only did the Wild’s power play go 3 for 4, but Zuccarello assisted on three goals and captain Jared Spurgeon two.
The three assists are a season high for Zuccarello, who equaled his career high for the 11th time. He has 24 points in his last 15 games, a span that includes nine multipoint efforts.
As for Spurgeon, he passed Andrew Brunette for sixth place on the Wild’s all-time scoring list with 322 points.
Kahkonen made 30 saves, with Detroit scoring twice more in the third period. The first came from Lucas Raymond at 9:43 for the Red Wings’ only power-play goal in six tries, and Sam Gagner cut the deficit to one goal with 1:46 remaining.
But Kaprizov called off that rally with an empty net at 19:11 before Ryan Hartman finished the scoring with 15 seconds left against Nedeljkovic, who had 18 saves. The win was the Wild’s sixth multi-goal comeback this season, leading the NHL.
That one-finish nail-biter, however, wasn’t the highlight of the night.
Boldy delivered that moment earlier in the evening.
“You can see how good and smart he is and how he uses his stick to protect the puck,” Eriksson Ek said. “The fact that he is so young and so strong is unbelievable. It’s great for our team to have a player like that.”